"Chicago" the movie--Spoilers!!

The Goboyfriend and I saw the movie version of the Kander and Ebb musical, Chicago today in DC, and we were blown away by how good it was. I adored the stage production here in DC with Nana Visitor (Major Kira in DS9), Vickie Lewis (Newsradio), and Robert Urich three years ago, but the movie is in some ways superior.
[li]Renee Zellweger was great as Roxie Hart, but Catherine Zeta-Jones was a WOW as the flashy jazz babe Velma Kelly, and gives Bebe Neuwirth from the Broadway revival cast album serious competition, especially in the incandescent “All That Jazz.”[/li][li]Richard Gere is a pretty good Billy Flynn, but John C. Reilly has such an amazing singing voice in the “Mr. Cellophane” number that he, IMO, eclipses Joel Grey’s rendition on the Broadway cast album and deserves a Best Supporting Actor Academy Award nomination[/li][li]Queen Latifah must have been channeling Bessie Smith because she does an oustandingly salacious performance of “When You’re Good to Mamma.”[/li][li]Christine Baranski was criminally underused as Mary Sunshine.[/li][li]The movie explicitly shows the cynical underbelly of the legal system that the stage production only hinted at, especially in the “They Both Reached For the Gun” number, which depicts Richard Gere pulling the strings of reporters-as-marionettes.[/li][/ul]

Here be spoilers…

[spoiler]The director cut about half of the songs from the score, but if you haven’t seen the stage production you won’t miss them.

The songs in the movie are, in order:
All That Jazz
Funny Honey
When You’re Good to Mama
Cell Block Tango
All I Care About
I Can’t Do It Alone
Mister Cellophane
Razzle Dazzle
Nowadays/HotHoney Rag

In addition, for the real show tune queens among us, Chita Rivera ( Velma from the original 1975 production) has a cameo as a jail inmate.

My only complaint is that the movie cut my two favorite lines from the play–“I gotta pee” and “I’m gonna get me a whole BUNCH of boys!”

And the opening shot was totally cribbed from Cabaret.

I love this play.
I’m a bit wary about seeing the movie for reasons like -

Christine Baranski is an amazingly talented woman. She seems to be missing something for the part of Mary Sunshine.

I’ve also heard that they changed Roxie’s backstory to make her a battered woman and fighting back against the man who beat her, rather than the cooler (but arguably less sympathetic) character she should be.

Am I going to sit there and think they ruined the show? Or am I going to like it anyway?

I never saw the play, but I thought the film was great; very entertaining, the way Moulin Rouge was very entertaining. Not as laugh-out-loud funny as Moulin Rouge, but I guess I’m just a sucker for show-stopping song and dance production numbers!

I don’t know what her character was in the play, but my impression is that someone just told you plain wrong.

My advice: ignore the critics and forget the reviews; just see it for yourself and then decide!

Yes, they eliminated the drag queen revelation at the end of the show.

No, the screenwriter kept the character the same as in the play; no back story was added.

The movie was phenomenal and I think that if you love the play, you’ll love the movie, too. Just bear in mind that the movie has to be judged on its own merits, and some things that work on stage don’t work in a movie, and thus must be changed.

I thought the movie was wonderful… so much fun, and the audience ate it up… LOUD applause after every musical number.

My friend, who I was with, has seen the stage version over 80 times, thought it was “amazing”.

I was pretty underwhelmed with the movie. I didn’t think that Zellweger had a good enough voice for her role. I thought the set pieces were way over-edited. I was left thinking “well, they’ve made it look like Catherine Zeta-Jones can dance, but can she really or is it just fancy editing.”

There really isn’t that much story so I think the singing and dancing had to be top notch, and while surprisingly competent it just didn’t grab me and refuse to let go like I expected.

Oh, and I’ve heard others report applause throughout the movie, but it wasn’t happening in my theater (Emeryville, CA). Almost complete silence throughout with light applause at the end.

Maybe the crowd just wasn’t into it and that affected my perception (it always improves my response when I’m feeding off a group reaction).

obfusciatrist - CZ-J was a dancer before she became an actress, so I don’t have a problem there.

But I didn’t like the way Billy Flynn was dragged over a hill by a warg and given up for dead until he re-emerged in Helm’s Deep. Where the heck did THAT come from?..Timmy

Oh, I know Catherine Zeta-Jones can dance, but they should have let her show it, without the rapid edits.

Wow! This was a really entertaining movie; I really enjoyed it. Most musicals I’ve seen segue from song & dance to acting sequences very awkwardly. I hope that Hollywood takes notice and starts producing more musicals like Moulin Rouge and Chicago.

I just saw it here in NYC. The crowd applauded after each number like we were watching the B’way show.

I really liked the movie. It did look like it could have been directed by Fosse. They bascially danced ‘Fosse style’ but the film was shot and edited very much like Fosse’s Caberet and All That Jazz.

I think the entire audience got the C.R. reference.

I was annoyed by the rapid cuts in some of the dance sequences. I like it when they pull the camera back and just let it roll like when Astaire or Kelly were dancing in movies. The last number was really over edited. IMHO

Overall I really liked the film and if you liked the B’way show, like I did, I pretty confident you’ll like the movie.

If you have never seen the B’way show I think you’ll like the movie.

That is if you like sexy dark comedies set to music.

Speaking of Chicago, if anybody wants to know the translation of what Hunyak said in Hungarian, it was covered in this thread.

(This is not a spoiler, it’s just an FYI.)

Was Hunyak in the movie, or did she get Bombadilled?

Yep, she’s in the movie, and her role is made heartbreaking because the filom (as opposed to the stage play) emphasizes that she truly is an innocent who is hanged unjustly, yet the two self-confessed murderesses go on to have a succesful vaudeville act.

Just saw Chicago and thought it was great. I thought it was funny that (former?) sex symbol Richard Gere could be so unsexy in his first number, and thought that his voice was weak, but his voice and his character grew on me. I loved the opening number, especially the way the cigarette got passed around/handed off.

I thought John C. Reilly’s song was excellent, and I wasn’t expecting him to have a song.

I also really got into Gere’s ventriloquist act.

Went and saw it today and I loved it!
I had a wildly mad urge to clap after the dance numbers but kept it to myself.
I must have the soundtrack!
I thought the Cell Block Tango number was great!

It would’ve been fun to have an audience applauding after each number like some people mentioned. The theatre I was in was only about half full. A full quarter of those people walked out and the remaining 3/4ths (or 3/8ths) were completely silent, even after the movie ended.

I knew nothing of this movie going in, not even that it was a musical. The songs didn’t bother me at all like my girlfriend thought they would, I just thought the story was pretty weak. I also loathed each and every character except John C. Reily who I pittied so bad I could barely stand to look at him. I guess this is what they were going for but it inadvertantly made me loathe and pity the movie itself.

That said, there were some extremely strong and creative song and dance numbers, especially the one where all the girls tell their crime stories and the one where Richard Gere is the puppet master.

I just bought the movie soundtrack and listening to it divorced from the images in the film, I have to say that the orchestration is superior to both the New York and London original cast albums, but the vocal performances aren’t as strong, particularly in the Billy Flynn’s numbers. Richard Gere just doesn’t have as strong a voice as James Naughton in the 1996 cast album or Jerry Orbach in the original 1975 cast, although Gere, IMO, is a more entertaining singer than Henry Goodman in the London cast.

Catherine Zeta-Jones is just as incandescent on CD as she was in the movie and gives Bebe Neuwirth a run for her money as Velma. Of the movie, NYC, and London cast albums, Ruthie Henshall is the superior Roxie WAY better than Ann Reinking!), but you gotta give Renee Zellwegger props for a noble effort.

And believe me, they have already sold at least one copy of the DVD!

On the applause thing…

I work in a theater showing the movie. We’ve only got one screen, so I get to pay extra-close attention to the audiences.
Every audience except one has applauded at the end of the film. The thing is, though, is that nobody’s really sure when to applaud. The movie fades to black and it’s not entirely clear if that’s it. Then there’s the credit sequence (the curtain-call) that we keep the lights down for. So you’ll either get a smattering of applause at the first fade out, which usually grows stronger when people realize it’s time to clap, or you’ll get it when the director is named. Sometimes it’s entirely after the curtain call sequence, when we’ve brought the lights up.

We’ve only had one walkout from the film in the 3 weeks we’ve been running it. We’ve done record-breaking business and the majority of our weekend shows are sold out (this is a near-500 seat auditorium). I’ve heard some criticisms, and some disappointments with Richard Gere, but nothing bad. Almost all of the theater buffs who express reservation when they come in tell me when they leave that they loved it.

My biggest beef (aside from completely getting sick of the whole thing after hearing it…I calculate 49 times) is that the credits are way too damn long. I know, I know…but half the people stay in the auditorium to hear “All That Jazz” and did I mention that we have almost 500 seats? That’s a lot of cleaning up to do.

By now I do a mean imitation of CZJ rouging her knees. I still go in every chance I get to hear the Queen Latifah song, though. Queen Latifah rocks.

I loved this movie, too! My only criticism is that in the effort to streamline the film, they cut several of Velma’s numbers and emphasized the Roxie character rather than making them equals.
They also cut a couple of the girls’ duets, including “I Am My Own Best Friend.”
Queen Latifah and John C. Reilly were show-stoppers! Wow!